The cuisine of a country gives an intimate insight into its lifestyle, its culture, its people - and we'll bet you've never met anyone who loves a good meal as much as a Trinbagonian!

The food fare of Trinidad and Tobago is as multifaceted as the folks who live here - how could it not be with the wide variety of influences and extensive range of tastes? All good Trinis are 'foodies' - we love to socialize, we love to eat and we pride ourselves on our 'sweet hand' - meaning the tastiness with which we can prepare a meal so that those who partake of it keep coming back - and begging - for more.

Trinidad and Tobago's unique gastronomy is, of course, directly related to its multi-ethnic society. Starting with the original Amerindian inhabitants of our islands and continuing to the present day, successive waves of immigrants lent their own unique touches to the rich landscape of Trinidadian cuisine.

The Spanish influence can be seen (and tasted!) in many Creole dishes, including Pelau, a rice, peas and meat dish that bears some similarity to Paella - but better - at least we think so! The African slaves left their own indelible mark with the addition of root vegetables such as Yams and Dasheen to the staple diet. The East Indians brought their spices and the Chinese, well, they brought Chinese food, which can be found in practically every corner of the island.

Trinbagonians continue to embrace all good things edible. While traditional fare is ever-present (you know - eggs, bacon and toast) the more adventurous may want to start the morning with a Bake and Buljol at a charming little joint called 'The Breakfast Shed', conveniently located on the waterfront in Port of Spain. You can also try a good Doubles from the man with the mysterious and wonderful-smelling box on the corner - but remember, ordering a Doubles does not mean you're getting two! Lunch might be a Roti at any of the many shops - everybody has their favourite. You can try a Creole lunch - rice, stewed peas, macaroni pie, stewed meat - adding new meaning to the term 'finger licking good'!

When dinnertime rolls around, the world is at your feet, for we have perhaps the largest array of restaurants in the entire Caribbean and all of them are good! The most difficult task will be deciding which one to patronize. You can choose from Chinese, Lebanese, French, Italian, Indian, Thai - the list is endless and limited only by the confines of your palate. Eateries abound and the choices range from fine dining establishments to small family restaurants or that other wonderful Trinbagonian tradition - roadside vendors. Whatever you choose, know that you have eaten well and that tomorrow is another day and another mouth-watering choice!